from the Hoe Valley Neighbourhood Forum (HVNF)
To all supporters of the Hoe Valley Neighbourhood Forum (HVNF)
On 14th December 2021 the Secretary of State for Housing and Local Communities refused the appeal by GolDev Ltd against the decision by the Local Planning Authority to refuse planning consent for the development of tower blocks at the Woking Football Club site.
The reasons for the rejection of the appeal were the inappropriate height, bulk and density of housing which he considered would have an adverse and harmful effect on the street scene and surrounding area. He also agreed with the Planning Inspector’s report that the proposed development did not have an appropriate mix of housing to create a sustainable and balanced community.
This does not mean that there will not be a development on the site in the future, however, it should NOT be an inappropriate development.
The Planning Inspector, in his report on Woking’s Development Plan Document, assessed the site as being suitable for a development of 93 homes together with some improvements to the structure of the football club and improvements to car/coach parking. The Council executive accepted this report last October.
As the land is owned by WBC and they are continually seeking to develop the available land, and the Westfield Ave site is brownfield, it is possible that they will come forward with a new proposal.
The Secretary of State’s decision that tall buildings are inappropriate for the surrounding area does, however, mean that we should not be made to fight a future similar proposed development on this site. It also gives precedence to any future tall building applications within The Hoe Valley ward.
As you will recall the Hoe Valley Neighbourhood Forum (HVNF), chaired the first meeting of concerned residents which led in turn to many residents banding together to form the South Woking Action Group (SWAG) in order to fight the above proposed development.
The members of SWAG worked extremely hard on resident’s behalf to oppose the development, often at some personal cost to the committee members.
Our thanks go to all SWAG members for their magnificent efforts.
I believe that by leveraging people power, we can formulate a strong and comprehensive plan for the Hoe Valley that will control future development and prevent further inappropriate speculative proposals by developers.
I appreciate that this fight was time-consuming and at times stressful but the strength of support you gave in opposing the proposed development was instrumental in our collective community victory.
We would not wish to have to fight another similar battle and as such we are working hard, on your behalf, to formulate our local plan.
This will cover policies to prevent harmful developments anywhere in the Hoe Valley ward.
We need your continued support.
If you are not already a member of The Forum I would ask you to show your support for what we are doing by becoming a member. You can apply online at our website (https://hoevalleynf.org.uk).
We also need more people to help write the plan, please do email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to get on board and help the Committee to finish drafting the plan and engage in the community consultation.
We have collectively shown that people power CAN stop developers from doing what they want in the area and our plan will help prevent inappropriate future developments.
My best wishes to you all.
Bob Shatwell, Chair
Hoe Valley Neighbourhood Forum